California Case Summaries™
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is the publisher of California Case Summaries™. Monty hasbeen a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, a member of ABOTA since 1995, and currently works as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. (ADR) in ADR’s offices in San Diego, Irvine, and Los Angeles. California Case Summaries™provides short summaries, organized by legal topic, of every new published civil and family law case so California lawyers can easily and affordably keep up with the new case law in their practice areas. Monthly, quarterly and annual subscriptions are available.
Landlord – Tenant
Reynolds v. Lau (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 4392511: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Plaintiffs prevailed in a jury trial and were awarded $600,000 in damages on a claim that defendant, their former landlord, violated the owner move-in provisions of the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance (Ordinance) when he instigated eviction procedures against them. The Court of Appeal ruled that the “good faith,” “without ulterior reason,” and “honest intent” requirements of the Ordinance do not trigger a wide-ranging inquiry into the general conduct and motivations of an owner who seeks to recover possession of a unit. Rather, these terms serve a specific function: to determine whether the owner harbors a good-faith desire to occupy the apartment as his or her primary residence on a long-term basis. The trial court properly found that no substantial evidence supported jury’s verdict that defendant violated the owner move-in provisions of the Ordinance, and thus the verdict was properly set aside to prevent a miscarriage of justice. (C.A. 1st, filed August 19, 2019, published September 13, 2019.)
City of Dana Point v. New Method Wellness, Inc. (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 4392510: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment enjoining defendant’s unauthorized use of the real property. The evidence showed that three residential properties were advertised as part of a drug treatment facility, the residents’ lives were highly regulated, defendant NMW Beds, LLC imposed 24-hour supervision, provided transportation to defendant New Method Wellness, Inc’s drug treatment facility, and recovery treatments were offered at the properties. The Court of Appeal ruled that this evidence supported the trial court’s finding that the properties were being used as part of a drug treatment facility, and this use of the properties was not authorized under the relevant zoning ordinance or under any exception to the zoning ordinance. Thus, the use constituted a nuisance per se, and the trial court properly issued an injunction. (C.A. 4th, filed August 23, 2019, published September 13, 2019.)
Lindstrom v. Cal. Coastal Commission (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 4509046: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting a petition for writ of administrative mandate that disapproved several conditions placed by respondent on its approval of petitioner’s plan to build a house on a vacant oceanfront lot on a bluff in Encinitas. The Court of Appeal held that every special condition imposed by respondent, except one, was within its discretion. It ruled that the condition requiring removal of the home from the parcel if any government agency orders that it not be occupied due to a natural hazard, including erosion or a landslide, as currently drafted, was overbroad, unreasonable and did not achieve respondent’s stated purpose in drafting it. The trial court was directed to enter a new judgment ordering respondent to either delete the special condition or to revise it to more narrowly focus on its intended purpose. (C.A. 4th, September 19, 2019.) Southern Cal. Edison Co. v. Severns (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 4267759: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment, following a five day bench trial, for plaintiff in an action for interference with easement and declaratory relief. The trial court properly ruled that the three public utility easements granted to plaintiff were “floating easements” over the property to access its electrical facilities. Although the floating easements burdened the property at the time of creation, they did not become “fixed” easements until plaintiff and the property owners agreed on the access routes. At that point, plaintiff became the owner of an easement of reasonable width over each agreed-upon access route, and plaintiff was entitled to free (i.e. unimpeded) access to those routes. (C.A. 2nd, September 10, 2019.)